Things co-workers won’t tell you…Even the most well-intentioned colleagues can rub you the wrong way
“I’m the most stressful part of your day.”
When she first started her job as a customer service representative at a manufacturing company, then-23-year-old Jennifer Matlack liked her co-worker, a fellow customer service rep. “In the beginning, she was lovely — friendly and funny,” she says. “We laughed a lot.” But after a few weeks, the co-worker began rolling her eyes when Matlack spoke, ignoring her and making snide comments — and it got even worse. “One day she crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it at my head,” Matlack says. “I didn’t even know what to do; I was in shock.” The situation became so stressful to Matlack that she says she “spent a lot of time crying in the bathroom stall.” Fully 83% of American workers say they are stressed out by at least one aspect of their jobs, up 10 percentage points from last year — with more than one in 10 citing annoying co-workers as the biggest source of stress, according to a study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College. Those colleagues who talk too much, share too much personal information, gossip often or blame others for their failures are among the most stress-inducing, says career coach Marc Dorio. Despite all the agony these individuals inflict, their exasperated office mates rarely ask them to change, experts say — and that may be an expensive mistake: Workers who report high levels of stress spend nearly 50% more on health care each year than their more-relaxed peers, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
“It’s my fault you can’t squeeze into your skinny jeans anymore.”
Cupcakes for your co-worker’s birthday, cookies to celebrate a coming vacation, a crumb cake “just because” — all these thoughtful gestures may in fact be fueling resentment among co-workers, especially those trying to slim down, says career coach David Couper. More than 40% of workers say they have gained weight at since starting their current jobs; of those, 59% gained more than 10 pounds and 30% gained more than 20 pounds. A full 17% of people cite “workplace celebrations” like birthdays or potlucks as major contributors to this weight gain, according to a 2013 study by CareerBuilder.com. All that extra snacking, of course, can lead to serious health problems and higher medical costs. The average overweight person will rack up $266 more in medical costs per year than a normal-weight person, according to a study published in 2011 in the Obesity Reviews journal. The average obese person’s medical costs were an extra $1,723.
“I’ll bully you.”
More than one in three people has been a victim of workplace bullying — which can range from verbal abuse to intimidation to sabotage — according to a survey conducted in 2010 by the Workplace Bullying Institute, a nonprofit. While much of this bullying is deliberate, sometimes such harassment is inadvertent. For example, someone may consider the teasing of a colleague good-natured, while it is actually making the colleague uncomfortable — not that you’d necessarily know it, says career coach David Couper. Just like at the playground, “people are scared of the consequences of calling a bully out.” If it gets bad enough, it may cost the company that persecuted worker. More than 40% of women and 36% of men who have been the victim of bullying said they left their jobs because of it, a 2010 study by the Workplace Bullying Institute found. And that may be the best possible outcome. “It is very disruptive to one’s health,” says Gary Namie, who has studied the impact of workplace bullying extensively and co-wrote the book “The Bully-Free Workplace.” Health implications range from anxiety (one of the most common) and stress to panic attacks and depression, he says, and treating these can be costly.
“I hate you because you make more than me.”
Workers who learn that their peers in similar jobs get paid more than them report significantly lower job satisfaction and are more likely to say they are looking for a job, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2010. What’s more, lower-paid workers can come to personally dislike their higher-paid counterparts, “People get really resentful when they find something like this out,” says Couper. “Sometimes they feel like this even if they just sense that someone is getting paid more or receives a bonus or bigger pay raise.” However, 15% of workers say they would share their salary information with a co-worker, according to a 2010 Glassdoor.com survey. “The millennial generation is more open about salaries than older generations,” Couper reveals. Furthermore, employees in the western U.S. are twice as likely as employees in the South to share salary information with co-workers at the same level, and those that make more money are more apt to discuss the payday details, according to the survey.
“I trash you behind your back.”
You’d probably prefer no one ever mentioned your alcohol-fueled dance-a-thon at the holiday party or the botched presentation in front of your boss’ boss. You’re probably out of luck. Office gossip is “very prevalent” and spreads even quicker these days, thanks to IM and email, says Bettina Seidman, president of career coaching firm Seidbet Associates. “Workplace gossip is common at all levels of the organizational hierarchy,” write Tanushree Mitra and Eric Gilbert in their 2012 study about office gossip, and negative gossip happens nearly three times as frequently as positive gossip. In offices without a consistent method of communicating news (like regular staff meetings), some 28% of employees rely on gossip as their first source for information, according to a study by office supply manufacturer Steelcase. Worst of all, any untruths your co-workers might be spreading about you will affect how others in the office view you both personally and professionally, says Seidman.
… And your sunny demeanor is getting on my nerves.”
The reverse is also true: If you’re a super-optimistic employee who is always working longer hours or taking on extra projects, you can expect some of your co-workers to secretly — or not so secretly — dislike you, say work pros. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that unselfish workers “who give much to the group effort yet take little of its subsequent reward aren’t applauded but rather targeted for expulsion.” What is it about someone going above and beyond that so rankles co-workers? People actually consider those “unselfish” people to be “rule-breakers,” who make most everyone else look bad in comparison, the study showed. Of course, this creates a problem for ambitious sorts, since taking on extra work and befriending the boss are important ways to climb the corporate ladder. Experts suggest such workers keep relatively mum about their workload. “People hate it when you talk or brag about all the extra stuff you’re doing,” says Williams.
I have included a series of 5 video’s on human kindness by Gabriella van Rij Professional Speaker, because I think we all could learn a thing or two from “The Human Kindness Foundation” it’ll be good for all of us to take a moment to visit, so let’s together pick up the ball of human kindness and start making a dent in this big epidemic called BULLYING, shall we? lotsa luv 🙂
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